Interlopers, St Luke’s, Glasgow ****
“You probably know everyone here.” Steven Lindsay was referring to his band members but could easily have been talking to the entire room, a community of well-wishers and patient fans, waiting to hear the first meticulously crafted new music from the former Big Dish frontman in 15 years.
In the interim, Lindsay has forged a career as a painter but music has drawn him back and his latest project, Interlopers, is a welcome return for one of Scotland’s could-have-been contenders, boasting a batch of atmospheric songs which are also painterly in their way.
From his band introductions, it appeared that Lindsay had assembled his dream team of brilliant players – drummer about town Ross McFarlane, bassist Adrian Barry, recruited into his group after a 25-year wooing, and the quiet storm that is guitarist Stuart McCredie, described (accurately) by Lindsay as “sickeningly talented”. Each took care of business in understated yet accomplished style, providing the bridge between the smooth Scotpop of The Big Dish and the organic torch songs of Interlopers on the likes of Rainbow’s End.
The set was a warm introduction to new if comforting territory but Lindsay dipped selectively into his back catalogue, pulling out the shimmering Giving Up The Ghost from his second solo album, Kite. The audience were happy to hear The Big Dish hit Miss America to round off proceedings but what had gone before surpassed its pleasant ache, not least Twins Of Gemini, an unfinished Associates song Lindsay completed with Alan Rankine’s blessing, which was fabulously melodramatic in a controlled way.
The unflappable Lindsay is not one for the vocal gymnastics of Billy Mackenzie but he did deliver an almost torrid vocal against the proggy acoustic arrangement of encore selection The Bell.